Boko Haram on Sunday released a new video purportedly showing some of the Nigerian schoolgirls kidnapped from Chibok more than two years ago, and called for its detained fighters to be freed.
The government said it was in touch with those claiming to be behind the undated video, which shows groups of girls in Islamic dress standing or sitting around a masked man armed with an assault rifle.
The film was issued just days after embattled Boko Haram head Abubakar Shekau denied claims he had been replaced as the leader of the Nigeria-based jihadist group.
“They should know that their children are still in our hands,” a Boko Haram fighter, holding an assault rifle and his head covered by a turban, says in the video, which was posted on YouTube.
The masked fighter delivers his demands standing in front of dozens of young women.
“The Nigerian government has issued a statement saying they are on top of the situation. What they mean by that is they are in touch with people purported to be behind that video,” said Al Jazeera’s Ahmed Idris, reporting from Lagos.
“The government … [is] being extra careful to be double sure that they are talking to the right persons and they are also taking the time and care to ensure that these girls are not harmed,” Idris said.
However, it is still “not clear who the Nigerian government is talking to”, he added.
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